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Ed Walsh Single-Signed Ball
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,406
Exceptional high-grade Official American League (Harridge) baseball signed by legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh. Walsh has signed the ball "Ed A. Walsh" in blue ink (grading "7/8") on a side panel. Due to his passing in 1959, long before Hall of Fame single-signed baseballs were in fashion, single-signed baseballs of Walsh are among the most difficult and desirable Hall of Fame "singles" to obtain in high grade. This spectacular example displays only the slightest hint of light toning and is in outstanding Excellent to Mint condition. "Big Ed" Walsh was one of the dominant pitchers of his era and one of only two modern-day players to record 40 or more wins in a season (Walsh won 40 games with the White Sox in 1908; Jack Chesbro won 41 in 1904). Although Walsh played fourteen seasons (thirteen of which were spent with the Chicago White Sox), 168 of his 195 wins came in a span of just seven years (1906-1912). During that short period of brilliance, Walsh led the American League in ERA twice and his lifetime ERA of 1.86 remains the lowest on record. Remarkably, Walsh wasn't inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame until 1946, which further explains the rarity of Ed Walsh single-signed balls in the hobby today. Based upon its stampings, this ball appears to be a transitional example bridging the 1940-1945 and 1946-1959 manufacturing periods. Because Walsh was inducted into the Hall of Fame late in life, shortly before his death, the majority of Ed Walsh signed items circulating in the hobby today date from that brief 1946-1959 "window of opportunity." This is only the second Ed Walsh single-signed ball we have handled, and it certainly ranks among the finest known. As a point of reference, the other example we offered, which appeared as Lot 528 in our April 2006 auction, realized a final sales price of $6,960. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500++. SOLD FOR $4,406
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